Gabriel Vicens debut as a leader confirms length of time and competency don't necessarily go hand in hand. Gabriel Vicens has arrived!
Brent Black / www.criticaljazz.com
Point In Time is the auspicious debut of the latest wave of six string prodigies to take their rightful place in the evolution of modern jazz. Some critics have referred to Vicens compositions as rather simple progressions, pretty or charming. Let's go the other way as young composers often grow into their work while hopefully not getting in their own way on that self indulgent road to nowhere. Progressions are rich and deceptively subtle, Vicens would seem to have the ability to paint with a Bill Evans like brush of emotional richness and lyrical subtlety.
As a soloist there is nothing over the top here, clean angular lines with a lyrical sense of purpose and melodic base that allows the more open ended compositions to float through a dream like conceptual promise of perpetual motion. The lineup includes David Sanchez on tenor sax and Eddie Gomez on bass. The additional musical co-conspirators are buying into what Gabriel is selling and have that old school working band mentality wrapped around the next wave of modern jazz guitar. There are no real stand out tracks any more than there are problem children perhaps better left off this session. Solid, well executed and with an ebb and flow that makes Point In Time engaging straight through.
Point In Time is a release with an occasional frenetic pace yet Vicens works well as a leader guiding those that wander off the lyrical path back to the straight and narrow with minimal effort. Gabriel Vicens takes some chances and they seem to pay off reasonably well across the board. It would be too easy and hypercritical to drop back into that safety zone of convention while advising Vicens get more time in on the bandstand. There is no time like the present and hypercritical is not how I roll. The torch continues to be passed and we are better for it.
Personnel: Gabriel Vicéns: guitar; Jonathan Suazo: alto sax; Eduardo Zayas: piano; Matt Clohesy: bass; Eddie Gomez: bass (6, 7, 9-11); Vladimir Coronel: drums; David Sánchez: tenor sax (5, 6, 12).